Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $3,000,000)
Youth in underserved communities, especially youth of color, are faced today with neglect, abuse, and household dysfunction known collectively as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). These conditions, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to several negative short and long-term outcomes for affected youth including increased contact with juvenile justice, criminal victimization, and substance misuse.
To address these challenges, Leadership Foundations (LF) requests $3,999,990 to expand and enhance its Mentoring Youth for Leadership (MYL) program as part of Category 3 of OJJDP’s FY 2022 Multistate Mentoring Program. Through its network of 24 mentoring program sites, all affiliates of the LF network, LF will match 2,000 trained adult mentors to 3,000 underserved youth between the ages of 11 and 17 in 19 states at 164 distinct program locations over the course of 36 months. Target populations include youth at risk for involvement or who are currently involved in the juvenile justice system and youth living in distressed or underserved communities. Additionally, MYL specifically targets youth having an incarcerated parent or family member, with specific attention paid by program sites serving in communities with high incarceration rates.
Mentoring activity will be guided by the MYL program model, utilizing the Positive Youth Development Framework which seeks to recognize and build upon the developmental assets of mentored youth. Mentoring will take place in site-based locations, through combined group and one-to-one matching. All mentors will participate in two hours of pre-match training and will utilize the evidence-based MAST framework (Model, Advocate, Suggest Activities, Talk) to guide intentional, strategic conversations to improve mentees’ social competencies. All mentoring activities align with and are guided by the six core standards of the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (EEPM).
For this 36-month grant period, LF will focus on two program enhancements: (1) improving program sites’ engagement with mentees’ parent(s) and/or legal guardian(s) through implementation of strategic benchmarks and enhancements in EEPM Matching, Training, Monitoring and Support, and Closure Standards and (2) strengthen program sites’ implementation of the EEPM Monitoring and Support standard, with a specific emphasis on addressing bullying/cyberbullying with mentored youth and their families.
Through their participation in MYL, mentored youth will demonstrate improved social competencies, increasing their likelihood to engage in positive, healthy behaviors and decreasing their likelihood of engagement in juvenile delinquency or contact with the juvenile justice system.